Private schools are run independent of the public school system which means that not only are some of them open for in person teaching this school year, but many of them are also handling COVID-19 in different ways. Each county and state has different mandates and requirements in place for any business or institution that is within its jurisdiction, and this includes private schools. For the most part though, as long as schools are able to follow the mandates and suggestions in place they are allowed to handle their school how they choose.
Here is a look at how some private schools are handling COVID-19 this year.
Hybrid In Person and Virtual Learning Schedules
Many private schools are trying hybrid schedules that include in person and e-learning schedules for students. Half of the students are in the classroom for two days per week, while the other half of students are home doing e-learning. Students switch for the following two days so every student spends some time in the classroom with teachers at some point.
Staggered or Full Return
Many private schools have determined that they are able to provide students with safe learning experiences in their classrooms and are therefore offering staggered or a full return to school. In both cases, school administrators have referred to current case statistics in their respective counties and many indicate that whether they continue offering in person classes can change. Not every school has the funds or equipment necessary to continue e-learning with all their students, making this the best viable option.
Classes are Live Streamed
Live streaming in the classroom isn’t entirely new, but it is new to a lot of private schools. In order to keep the entire class on the same page, even when half of the students are at home, teachers are live streaming their lessons as they give them in the classroom. Doing this gives all students the chance to view lessons live as they happen, interact with their teachers and fellow students, and keeps the students up to date on lessons.
Additional Tutoring and Office Hours
To help ease the strain of online learning and any difficulties students may face, many private schools are offering additional tutoring options and office hours with teachers. Obviously, this is going to place extra demand on teachers, but doing this will make the shift to e-learning easier for all students to adjust to. With the added access to tutoring and their teachers, students will have every possible resource made available to them in any subjects or areas where they are struggling.
All Distance Learning
Because private schools have students with many different needs, many are able and willing to provide full time distance learning to those students that need it. Some children are immunocomprimised, or the changes to the schedule no longer offers transportation options to students, among other reasons. Whatever the reason may be, private schools can cater to and accommodate their students if they need to remain home.
Masks and One Way Traffic
Like many other public spaces, several private schools are also requiring students and staff to wear masks, limit the number of people in one space, socially distance, and follow one way traffic guidelines. These practices have strong support because they reduce the risk of infection from COVID-19. While private schools do not need to follow mask mandates or any of the other mandates that have been established since COVID-19 became relevant, most recognize the importance of doing so and can decide whether, when, and how to enforce these rules.
Additional Outdoor Space
Many private schools have transformed their outdoor space in order to utilize it in the best way possible for in class learning. These outdoor spaces are being used to reduce the amount of time students are indoors and potentially passing or coming in contact with the virus.